OT- Researcher ethics with animals

Submitted: Wednesday, Jun 06, 2007 at 08:26
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Just came across the piece on cane toads at the ABC.

There apparently has been exposed some canabalistic behaviour where bigger cane toads actually eat smaller ones. I quote below - but note the astirisks (*) below

"The researchers noticed that when baby toads are around adult toads, the adults start wiggling the middle toes on their hind feet.

The baby toads appear to respond by hopping towards the adults.

The researchers wondered whether this toe-waving is an adaptation for cannibalistic behaviour and set up an experiment to check.

Toads were separated by clear glass and not allowed to eat each other because it * would have gone against the rules of ethical animal experimentation. *

The researchers found that baby toads only move towards adults that wave their toes.

"[The toe waving] seems to be beautifully designed to arouse the feeding responses of a small cane toad," Prof Shine said.

"They presumably think it looks like a small insect." Unquote

Heaven help if they killed one. The full article is at Site Link
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Reply By: Member - Wim (Qld) - Wednesday, Jun 06, 2007 at 08:58

Wednesday, Jun 06, 2007 at 08:58
Morning John.

I try to get the ones in my yard to clean up there act.
I use detol but they don't seem to like it very much.
I guess I would fail as a researcher.

Heading west this weekend for more red sand.

All the best.
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Moses - Wednesday, Jun 06, 2007 at 09:17

Wednesday, Jun 06, 2007 at 09:17
G'day Wim, you and I together on that one.

The reddest I will see for a while will be going to Warraweena and perhaps a little to the North. I had to make the best of our tripping with some airports, railway stations, narrow Amalfi coast roads and snows of NY State, and some major cities along the way;-)))) Enjoy the red dust, I will when I get back to it.

Best wishes to Judy too mate....
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Reply By: Gerhardp1 - Wednesday, Jun 06, 2007 at 09:21

Wednesday, Jun 06, 2007 at 09:21
John, I would be the first to applaud this finding, if its conclusion were not flawed.

Now I'm not saying they don't eat each other, but when I was in high school doing the limited scope of research & experimentation that was the norm for school, my science teacher emphasised that to draw a conclusion without observation of that event was false.

These guys think because a toad wiggles its toes that it will eat a smaller toad after it has come close enough.

But they did not actually observe the feast happening.

Therefore, they could have equally arrived at the conclusion that some big toads are pedophiles and want to kiss the smaller ones, or they just want to kick their ar$e because they have been naughty.

Now they will want more taxpayer to continue their cosy bit of research, but they will NEVER be able to prove their theory because it's cruel, according to the rules.

A couple of observations

- If a large toad wanted to eat a baby toad, all it would have to do is hop after it and eat it, because the small one can't hop as fast or as far. So why bother to "evolve" a wiggling toe?

- If they are cannibalistic, why are there so many of them, and why are they spreading?

And in case you haven't seen it, check Bazza here, it's brilliant

www.cane-toad.com/movie.php


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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Moses - Wednesday, Jun 06, 2007 at 09:34

Wednesday, Jun 06, 2007 at 09:34
I was just interested in the irony of saving toads in the laboratory so they could encourage them to eat their young at a greater rate in the future. Wasn't worrying about the other social sides of their mis-behaviour so much. LOL Hope they can get more swallowing of toads by toads though. Will check your link.
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Follow Up By: Gerhardp1 - Wednesday, Jun 06, 2007 at 09:41

Wednesday, Jun 06, 2007 at 09:41
Agree, I wondered how they were going to reconcile that with their "no harm" ethic.

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Reply By: Member - Davoe (Nullagine) - Wednesday, Jun 06, 2007 at 11:09

Wednesday, Jun 06, 2007 at 11:09
Stupid peace of research. I have a frog and i can assure you it will eat anythingthat moves and it can fit into its mouth (or not even) I can imagine a canetoads any different
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Reply By: Nick R (VIC) - Wednesday, Jun 06, 2007 at 13:53

Wednesday, Jun 06, 2007 at 13:53
Their animal ethics committee must be lazy, death as an endpoint research is done particularly in regard to exotic diseases. This sould be an easy one to do for them...
Humanising animal treatment gone mad!!!

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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Wednesday, Jun 06, 2007 at 17:29

Wednesday, Jun 06, 2007 at 17:29
I've heard that practicing golf with a 9 iron is one way to stop cane toads waving their toes.
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